Chartplotter Physical Interfaces

Chartplotter Physical Interfaces

Through iterative prototyping and testing with representative users and stakeholders, I determined the most intuitive set of controls for a new line of chartplotters, as well as an auxiliary keypad.

  • Year: 2016
  • Role: Interaction Design
  • Activities:

    • Product Design
    • Iterative interaction design
    • Guerilla and remote usability testing
    • User recruiting
    • Flash prototypes operated by physical keypads


To determine most intuitive set of physical controls for two different physical interfaces, to operate pre-determined chartplotter (marine navigation) software.




To help focus the design, I pulled in proto-personas I had created from all available sources on-site, including marketing team, past interviews and focus groups, online searches, and feedback from beta testers. This helped in prioritizing design problems.


Physical prototype

Many meetings swirled around conceptual design needs until I worked with electrical engineers to set up a physical representation of the controls. I created a Flash prototype that worked the same as the target software, in order to test intuitiveness of key interactions. This prototype was so effective it was shown to the CEO.


Iterative local testing

To quickly and realistically test physical controls that would be used in a dynamic environment (the ocean), I utilized a variety of test platforms for usability tests, including a vibration table, a porpoising local cabin cruiser boat, and a wobble board.


Usability with local fishermen

I employed a number of creative methods to test the layout and ease of use of physical buttons across a spectrum of hand sizes of target population.


Software recommendations

As I tested, I implemented recommendations for software implementation into my living prototype. The engineers were able to refer directly to the final Flash prototype in creating their user stories.